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26 July, 2016

Nathan's Birth Story

On Friday June 17, at thirty four and a half weeks I woke up with a migraine, puffy, dizzy and my blood pressure had jumped up 20-25 points over night. I knew the inevitable had happened. Preeclampsia. I called the midwife and they had me come in for a check up, and then they sent me to the hospital for several hours of monitoring and labs. They sent me home that night with orders for modified bedrest and twice a week check ups.  On Monday the obstetrician called with my lab results. I had the start of preeclampsia and given my history of having it twice already, would need to be induced at 37 weeks. They sent me in to get steroid shots for the baby incase he needed to be born early.

I stayed on bedrest for the next two weeks and went to the hospital one other time for monitoring.  Everything was up and down.  Some days I was swollen and dizzy some days I was up doing normal activity just fine.  Some days my blood pressure was record low and some days it was in the warning zone.  It was strange and baffled my doctors.

At my 36 week check up the obstetrician said I could keep my 37 week induction date or push it back a week.  I decided to split the difference and scheduled it for July 7th because my favorite midwife was on call that day.  They said since everything was going well because I had been induced twice already with great success, I could call the shots of how I wanted the induction to go.

On July 7th at 8am we arrived at the hospital.  The midwife came in to check me. I was 2 cm and 50%. We decided to start a 12 hour dose of Cervidil and see where that took me.  At 10am the medicine arrived and the clock started. I had to be on the monitors and on my back for a straight 2 hours. After that I could get up occasionally to use the bathroom.
With both of the girls we started Cervidil at night and then slept through the uneventful hours.  This time I laid in bed watching the clock tick.  I was showing no signs of contractions so I was able to get up for lunch.  After this I took a nap.
Then my mom brought Evie to visit.  She and Eric played Mindcraft for about an hour while my mom and I talked.

By now it was about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I was starting to have very mild, very irregular contractions. I was still able to eat so I had a small dinner.  Contractions started picking up and for the next 2-3 hours went from every 13 minutes to every 8 minutes.  We called the birth photographer and she arrived around 7pm.

Somewhere during this time the Obstetrician came in to go over the next stage(s) of the induction. She laid out 3-4 different options for me. If things progressed well we could break my water and go. If not, then I'd either need to sleep and try again in the morning, try another dose of Cervidil, try a dose of a similar drug, or start Pitocin.  If I hadn't progressed my plan was to start Pitocin. (Something I never thought I'd say, but I was losing the mental game at this pregnancy the last few weeks)
We hung out with the photographer (Lily) watching Family Feud and waiting on the midwife to come in and check on me at 10pm.  At 9pm she surprised me with a visit. With contractions at 6-8 minutes apart and picking up in intensity she decided to check me an hour early.  While she was checking me her face lit up and said, "Well, you're at 4-5cm and 60%. I'd say let's break your water" --- HECK YES!  So she did!

I laid in bed for a half hour maybe but the fluid leaking was getting gross and annoying so I got in the shower. I spent about an hour in the shower and tub doing squats and stretching. Contractions were picking up speed and in intensity.  I toweled off and got dressed in what I wanted to wear for active labor and delivery...just a nursing sports bra..and continued to labor walking, squatting, and stretching around the room.

About 11 or so I was ready to get in bed and relax. I knew I still had a good hour or two a head of me and I needed some rest and more importantly to get my mind out of the way and into a good meditative state.

By 11:30 contractions were 4 minutes apart and intensifying.  Because I was allowed to labor without the fetal monitors on (they do a fetal heart check every 30 minutes, and then 30 minute strip every 4 hours) I had no idea how far apart or long the contractions were. I had Eric start timing. They were now every three minutes.  He watched the clock and would tell me when the next one was coming so I could start deep breathing.

About 1:30-2am I was starting to get really hard strong contractions and a lot of pressure "down there".  I knew I needed to poop (actually poop) so I managed a toilet visit. But much like with Maggie's delivery that was all I needed to put me over the edge to the final stages of labor.

The midwife was in the room with me waiting when a nurse came and grabbed her for a few minutes. I was pissed that they left. Little did I know the woman next door was pushing out a boy faster than me.  Minutes later the urge to push and full body contractions started. I could barely ask Eric and Lily to get the midwife for me. I just laid in bed trying to push the Call The Nurse button as I was holding back pushing out the baby. I'm not sure if I ever hit the button, managed to talk, or if it was the primal screaming that ensued but soon nurses started arriving and the room preparations were set in motion.

The midwife came in and sat with me while everyone else set up. It was a good distraction.  I had to tell Eric to tell me to breathe and relax with each contraction.  With Maggie's delivery I had started to fight them at this point by arching my back and it was keeping the baby from dropping.  This time I remembered to round my back, but I needed the reminders to RELAX.

I was able to manage the pain and pushing by doing really deep abdominal breathing with each contraction.  The "ring of fire" hit more than I remember any of the others and I felt like everything "down there" was tearing in a million pieces. I wanted to push but I could tell I was going to tear if I pushed too hard too fast.  I alternated urges with pushing and breathing.  This way I could slow things down until I was really, really ready to push.  Once I could tell he was right there, I gave it all I had.  After two good pushes I hadn't heard from the midwife. I needed to know how far away I was. She said she could see his head. This was the perfect motivation. I locked into a mental focus image (Maggie laughing) and pushed two more times.  His head was out.  I took a good breather and was so ready to be done that the next contraction I pushed him out.
He was here!!!!  Welcome to the world, Nathanael James! Born at 2:42 am, weighing 7lbs 13.6 ounces, measuring 20.5 inches.  Our super sweet boy was placed on my chest for lots of snuggles.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't end here. The nurses and midwife prepared me to deliver the placenta and cut the cord.  I had Eric take Nathan to snuggle while the nurses finished with all after birth mess and getting me cleaned up. I started bleeding a lot so the nurses suggested we get Nathan on the breast to stabilize my body.  He had an incredible rooting reflex from the start.  Unfortunately, I was bleeding fast and the breastfeeding wasn't doing enough to help.  I was starting to feel faint.
I passed Nathan off to Eric again.  We decided that I needed Eric to help me so we sent Nathan over to the nurses to get his vitals checked and cleaned.
Eric went to get some apple juice and crackers and in that amount of time I just about blacked out.  I don't remember much other than the nurses yelling something about smelling salts, apple juice, breathing and keeping my eyes open and level.  I just wanted to collapse. The called for emergency pitocin and fluids.  I had no idea what was going on.  I had a shot of pitocin in my thigh and on the other side a nurse was putting in an IV and hanging up the fluid bags.

Eric fed me juice, crackers, chicken broth, and lots and lots of water over the next hour or so.  I wanted so badly to hold Nate but I just couldn't. It broke my heart but I was not well.

After the color returned to my face and I felt coherent enough the nurses let me sleep.  Eric took Nathan for a few hours and they snuggled.  The nurses kept me in labor and delivery for a few more hours. They were afraid to move me and didn't want to pass off my case to the recovery wing just yet.

Around 5 or 6am the nurses came in to run some tests.  They told me that I had lost over a 1000ml of blood, twice the normal amount and that I was close to needing a blood transfusion.  She told me I would need to eat lots of iron, protein and Vitamin C  and drinks 2-3 times the water over the next few weeks to help make a quick recovery.

Once the nurses and Eric said I was looking better, and I felt better I got to snuggle with Nathan again.  At the 7am shift change my recovery nurses came in to meet with the delivery nurses so that everyone was on the same page with my situation.  They finished cleaning me off and off we went down to recovery.  We slept for a few more hours before visitors started arriving.

After the crazy ending to the delivery, recovery went surprisingly well. I was faint for a few hours after, but by dinner time I was feeling pretty well. The next day my blood levels were safe enough for me to go home.  Nathan scored well on all of his tests and we were home just after lunch the July 9th.

 We are so in love with our little man!

Special thank you to Nile Women's Healthcare and Liliana Leahy Photography and of course, thank you to our parents for all the yummy food and for taking care of our girls while we met our little man.

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